X-Men 2: Clone Wars is a 1995 platform game developed by Headgames and released by Sega of America for the Mega Drive/Genesis as a sequel to the 1993 side-scrolling video game X-Men. The game is based on the successful TV series from Marvel Comics. X-Men 2 was praised by critics and won retrospective acclaim as one of the best games on the platform. It was supposed to be followed by a cancelled sequel titled X-Women.
The game begins with a cold open; the first level begins as soon as the game is turned on with a random character (depending on the direction the player pressed on the controller's D-Pad). After completing the first stage, the title screen and credits roll and the player is given the option to switch characters.
Each character has a "mutant power attack" which can be used in combat. Unlike the preceding game, there is no energy bar that limits the amount of mutant power attacks a player can use. Some of the mutant attacks can be charged to a greater effect by holding down the power button. The attacks increase in power when the character has nine or ten bars of health and can perform different functions if the character is in the air.
In addition to these powers, each character has various lesser skills, manoeuvers and quirks which make gameplay a different experience with each (see above). These powers can be used to reach hidden health pickups (which take the form of a double helix) or as a shortcut. Players begin the game with eight lives (meaning nine attempts) that are shared by all characters, with no way to gain more.
The game is based on the current story arc from the comics at the time of release. The technorganic alien race known as the Phalanx have returned and are seeking to take control of Earth by assimilating all of its inhabitants. They have also captured and cloned several mutants for experimentation. Only a select group of X-Men (Beast, Psylocke, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Cyclops) have avoided capture and, temporarily united with their oldest foe, Magneto, they must defeat the Phalanx before all of humanity is assimilated. Along the way, they will travel through familiar landscapes including the Savage Land and Avalon, and battle powerful adversaries such as Apocalypse, the Sentinels, Exodus, Deathbird and more.
Unlike 1993's X-Men, X-Men 2: Clone Wars was met with universally positive reception. According to retrospective review by GameFan, "In short, Clone Wars is everything Uncanny X-Men was not: nice to look at with its well-animated 16-bit characters and multi-layer backgrounds, (...) easy to pick up and play thanks to good controls and an easily understood interface; a story that is fine for one player but more fun with two. For a 2D platformer featuring licensed characters, the second X-Men is right on target in depicting the world’s mightiest mutants and ranks among the best comic book games produced in the era."
Complex ranked X-Men 2 as the 18th best game on the Sega Genesis, adding that "the game achieved the rarely seen balanced gaming." It was also ranked as the 20th top Genesis game by ScrewAttack, who noted it for having in their opinion the best soundtrack on the system. X-Men 2 placed 19th on the 2013 list of best Marvel video games by Geek Magazine, who stated that "the soundtrack was just as good as Mutant Apocalypse, and each stage was ripe with cool nods to the comics."